FWCS, FWEA begin new contract discussions - March 16, 2009

Record Number: 4892
Displayed from: Mar 16, 2009 , until: Apr 16, 2009

Fort Wayne Community Schools and the Fort Wayne Education Association, which represents the district's teachers, have begun discussions for a new contact. The last contract was negotiated in 2007, which resulted in three additional days to provide professional development for teachers. This school year, teachers have had the opportunity to strengthen themselves as professionals by developing teaching skills that are scientifically research-based to be the most effective. The 2007 contract also allowed a change in the calendar for hiring teachers. While current teachers are still given the first opportunity at any open positions, the district is able to open up the positions to others sooner than in the past. The new timeline puts FWCS in a better position to hire teachers in shortage areas, such as math, science and special education. FWCS and FWEA representatives met formally for the first time to discuss the new contract on March 11. The teams will meet again in April and June and plan to take a break for the month of July. "We are excited to be returning to the table with FWEA, although our conversations with our teacher representatives really never end," said Chief Academic Officer Carol Lindquist, who is leading the negotiations for the district along with FWCS General Counsel Bill Sweet. "Bargaining in these uncertain times is not easy, but we are committed, and we know our teachers are committed, to our primary goal of student achievement." Lindquist and FWEA Executive Director Steve Brace said they anticipate cordial bargaining sessions over the next few months. "For many years we have had an outstanding relationship with Fort Wayne Community Schools, and we know that both sides are dedicated to doing what it right for boys and girls," FWEA Executive Director Steve Brace said. "We all understand we are in an era of accountability, and we need to work together to find creative ways to meet those demands. I am confident we will be able to do so."

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.